Learning is, arguably, the most important skill a person can develop. And that is because it's the way to acquire every other possible skill.
Learning is at the core of rationality, both epistemic and instrumental. It's one of the defining characteristics of intelligence. If it is possible to develop it and make it more efficient, there's every motivation to do it.


Mnemonics are learning techniques that help to learn things faster and longer, in general by encoding the information to be learned in a way that the human brain tends to remember better.

Spaced Repetition Systems

From Wikipedia: "Spaced repetition is a learning technique that incorporates increasing intervals of time between subsequent review of previously learned material in order to exploit the psychological spacing effect." SRS are basically programs that show you flashcards with pieces of knowledge just as you are about to forget them (the times are calculated by an internal algorithm) so that you don't waste time reviewing things too early, and thus are the most efficient way (in theory, and quite in practice depending what you are trying to learn) to remember stuff for the long term (they are still useful for cramming but are not so awesome in that regard, maybe mnemonic techniques as the Memory Palace would work better there).

Twenty rules of formulating knowledge by Piotr Wozniak

This is the best article about how to make flashcards for an SRS, although you shouldn't emphasize discrete pieces of knowledge too much. There's research showing that connecting new information with knowledge held before is vital to learning, as opposed to memorizing discrete facts


I found that there's an optimal point between creating too obvious cards and too difficult cards, try to find that sweet spot. Also, pay attention to vital but not-too-difficult information, and add that to the SRS and learn that kind of info first (low hanging fruit). If some info is really obvious and you know you won't forget it as long as you review the not-obvious material, don't bother adding it.


http://ankisrs.net/ Probably the best between the open source, lots of shared decks and addons (the whole software is in Python), cards can be customized through html, css and javascript. Frequently used in online language learning communities.


The first SRS to exist. The interface is a bit visually dated and very complex. It's the one with better algorithms (though only marginally better than Anki's), support for Incremental Reading (almost non-existent in Anki, where it can be somewhat simulated through an addon), and has thousands of options which are only useful for you only if you are a SRS freak. Closed source / commercial.


Incremental reading

Almost only available through Supermemo, minimal support in Anki. The actual process it's not very clear, getting someone to upload a video of it showing the mechanics of the actual thing would be cool (specially for devs interested in implementing it in Anki and other open source software but with not enough motivation to learn Supermemo, and to know if it's really an useful thing or just an useless feature for marketing Supermemo and that's why there's no clear description of the process).

External links


Useful LW posts

The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

Relevant articles


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License